Developing professional goals is crucial to furthering your career. Do you want a promotion at work? Are you dreaming of becoming your own boss? Regardless of what you want to achieve, setting milestones can help you become more productive and set you up to reach your career goals. Learn about the importance of setting goals and eight professional work goals for this year.

Why Set Professional Goals?

Setting goals is an essential step to achieving milestones in your professional life. By setting achievable goals, you develop the framework needed to reach key milestones. Creating a clear path helps you map out what steps you need to take. While personal goals can help you reach health-, education-, or hobby-related aspirations, professional goals relate to your career life.

Whether you set goals to complete a project or hit a professional career milestone, setting professional development goals can help you excel in your profession. Although managers often give employees specific goals, this might not always be the case. In this scenario, it's important to develop your own goals so that you can continue to improve in your career.

Experts suggest that you address both short- and long-term career goals. Short-term career goals relate more to your current state. These goals should still contribute to your long-term vision while existing within a shorter time frame. For example, a short-term goal might be completing a smaller project, receiving additional job training, or landing a new job.

On the other hand, long-term goals usually take several years to complete. An example of a long-term goal could be landing your dream job or finishing a rather complex project.

Importance of SMART Goals

A popular acronym for outlining effective goals is SMART. This system has helped many people develop an action plan for their personal life and professional career. SMART stands for:

  • Specific: Create concrete steps toward your goal.
  • Measurable: Determine if your goal is measurable by asking: When will I know the goal is completed? How will I complete the goal?
  • Attainable: Clearly planning your goals and providing yourself with sufficient time to reach them makes your goals reachable.
  • Relevant: Create worthwhile goals that contribute to the overall picture.
  • Timely: All goals should be grounded and time-bound. This helps create a level of urgency so that you'll be sure to complete them.

8 Professional Work Goals for this year

Professional work goals should be focused on bettering your career. All in all, they should help with professional development and career competencies for your specific position. The exact goals you set should depend on the ultimate goal you have for your career.

In many cases, reaching your goals might require additional education or developing better communication skills. For example, if your main goal is to have a leadership role, you may need to take leadership courses and improve your communication skills while you're a team member.

Here are eight professional work goals you can set this year.

Get Clear on What You Want Professionally

The first step you should take in developing professional work goals is understanding what you want to do professionally. Creating a clear vision of your future will provide you with both short- and long-term goals.

Deciding where you want to be professionally in five to 10 years and beyond can help you create smaller, achievable goals along the way. Psychologists have discovered that creating specific, not overly challenging goals lead to higher performance 90% of the time than generic, complex goals. This is why identifying your ultimate goals is so crucial. In doing so, you can work backward to develop smaller goals.

Learn New Skills With Courses

Although many careers require continuing education courses, not all have this requirement. Developing new skills related to your career is beneficial for a number of reasons. Most importantly, learning new skills helps you become more adaptable. Being open to change with your newly acquired skills will help you take on additional or different work.

This can be particularly important if you need additional skills to reach a career milestone. For example, let's consider someone in the communication industry who writes press releases. This individual wants to start working in social media. How will they make this career pivot? By taking an online course in social media marketing, this individual will have the new skills necessary to make the change.

Strive to Learn a New Work Program, Application, or Tool

Learning is an important aspect of reaching professional goals. Aside from providing you with the essential know-how to take on additional duties, learning new programs, applications, and tools can provide you with the knowledge needed to have the relevant skills in your field.

Furthermore, learning new technologies keeps you up to date with advances in your field. Being left behind by technology can have serious repercussions for your career. Ensuring you have learned the latest technology for your position is essential in keeping your knowledge relevant.

Network With Others

Networking is a necessary aspect of any business. Even if it seems irrelevant to your life today, networking can lead to lasting business connections, which can serve you later on in your career. When connections know what your career goals are and they come across an opportunity, they may send it your way. All in all, developing a strong network can help you progress in your career path. So, how do you do it? Plan on going to a few networking events in the next year and chat more frequently with your team members.

Creating a professional network requires that you work on your relationship with colleagues. You already spend a lot of time with your co-workers, and building a good relationship with them can help create a positive environment. Professional relationships can lay the foundation of success in your industry. Nourishing your relationships with colleagues can help you work in harmony, improving your work life overall.

Improve Your Time Management

Another important professional goal to set is improving time management. Throughout your career, you'll likely need to balance time wisely. Meeting deadlines when urgent tasks come in can be difficult, which is why it's so vital to improve your time management skills.

When new projects come out of the blue, your time management skills will be tested. Having difficulty meeting deadlines can be detrimental to your career and professional confidence and can inhibit your work-life balance. Aside from decreasing your stress, time management skills can help you take on additional projects that are more aligned with your career goals.

Better Your Presentation Skills

Presentation skills can prove advantageous in virtually every industry. Although you probably won't need to give a TED Talk, developing public speaking skills can help you better articulate your thoughts. This can prove helpful in a number of situations. Whether you plan to speak out more often during Zoom meetings or take your public speaking company-wide, developing this skill set can help you feel confident in your ability to communicate.

Focus on Improving Something You're Not Good At

Improving an aspect in your profession that you don't necessarily feel confident about is an important part of growing. Professional confidence conveys to those around you that you know what you're doing. Studies show that those lacking confidence in certain areas of their work have lower performance in that aspect. This proves the power of a negative headspace and its impact on performance reviews.

How do you solve this? Improve your knowledge and understanding of where you struggle most. Workplace confidence helps you take on more challenging tasks, communicate with colleagues and bosses effectively, and be more assertive. These are all top traits employers look for in job interviews or when promoting individuals.

Sometimes, changing your viewpoint is enough. Positive self-talk can help many to be more productive and improve confidence. Start by acknowledging what you've achieved, and give yourself praise when it's due. Then, take the time to hone in on an aspect of your work, such as project management or teamwork skills that you'd like to improve. In time, you'll feel better about completing tasks that once scared you and feel more confident in your work.

Find and Take on New Challenges Within Your Role

Taking on new challenges can be advantageous in attaining set career goals. First, it shows leadership how dedicated you are to your position. Taking on new challenges isn't a simple feat. In most cases, it requires additional time and energy, which shouldn't go unnoticed.

In addition to showing your commitment to the job, taking on new challenges within your role will help keep your position rewarding. Continually completing simple tasks becomes boring. Ultimately, taking on new challenges can impress your employer by letting them know you are willing to put in hard work.

Keep Your Career and Financial Goals on Track With Skynova

One career goal you might have is starting your own business. However, without proper accounting knowledge, the process may seem overly confusing and time-consuming. Thankfully, entrepreneurship doesn't have to be. Skynova's accounting software can simplify your business's bookkeeping by helping you track and manage your income and expenses. Learn how our customizable software solutions can make your financial tasks easier today.

Notice to the Reader

The content within this article is meant to be used as general guidelines and may not apply to your specific work situation. Always consult with a professional to ensure you're meeting standards.